Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care

April 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Panorama is no stranger to unveiling shocking truths. Only last year an undercover investigation by Panorama resulted in a police investigation and the arrest of carer workers at a Bristol care facility where ill treatment of patients with learning disabilities was caught on camera.

Last night Panorama unearthed the story of Maria Worroll. An elderly lady who suffers from Alzheimer’s and was a resident at Ash Court care home in North London where she should have received full time care. 

Only six weeks into Maria’s stay her daughter, Jane, noticed bruising on her mother’s body and felt that Maria had become increasing introverted and generally unhappy. Trying to work out why Maria felt this way Jane planted a secret camera in her mum’s room to see what care Maria was actually receiving.

fiona phillips, Maria and Jane Worroll

Fiona Phillips with Maria and Jane Worroll in Panorama

The footage is truly shocking. Maria’s care plan wasn’t followed correctly, she was forced fed and her wishes to receive personal care from female carers only were ignored. In only 2 nights worth of footage Maria was subject to neglect and both verbal and physical abuse.

Five carers were filmed in Maria’s room at Ash Court over the course of secret filming, each of them failed to communicate with her and none offered Maria any reassurance when she was clearly distressed. Instead Maria was isolated with no entertainment, the television was only switched on when carers wished to watch, and Maria’s needs appeared to be disregarded despite her Alzheimer’s.

Most distressingly was the physical abuse caught on film, Maria was slapped 6 times by a male carer, pushed and shoved around a bed and manhandled because it would appear that the carers didn’t care to use as hoist as required. Outrageous and shocking but sadly the reality of Maria’s experience.

Jane’s footage was shown to Ash Court management, Quality Care Commission and Forest Healthcare, the owners of Ash Court. Their responses to the footage seemed to me to be lacklustre. CQC’s report doesn’t publish the matter that a serious case of abuse to a vulnerable person occurred in a facility which they rated as ‘excellent’. And the Chief Executive of New Forest reported that 4 of the 5 would return to work after a training process to ensure similar incidents didn’t occur again, which simply doesn’t seem good enough.

Unsatisfied Jane took her footage to the police and social workers who lead an investigation and later charged the male carer, Jonathon Aquino, with assault and ill treatment. He will now serve 18 months in prison. After five months the 4 other carers in question were sacked from Ash Court.

Maria is now in a different care home where her needs are being attended to properly. She is happy, out of bed and able to enjoy her life once again. Panorama’s report, which was lead my Fiona Phillips was utterly devastating and has raises further questions as to whether care homes in Briton are providing thorough, reliable and genuine care for their residence or slipping into decline.

Although difficult to watch I hope that this episode of Panorama will put more emphasis on enabling elderly people to stay at home, independently, for as long as possible. As I truly believe that this could avoid such mindless abuse and neglect to vulnerable elderly people.

Watch Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care on BBC iPlayer now.

Carers Week 13th-19th June 2011

June 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It is quite astonishing to think that six million people in the UK are carers, from those who help to take care of elderly relatives or disabled family members. Carers are out there in abundance.

With cuts in funding and services available to carers it is crucial that events such as Carers Week raise substantial awareness and support to help maintain positivity amongst dedicated carers, who face a harsh future with little government help.

Occasions such as Carers Week are incredibly encouraging, especially because I think that it is fair to presume that a figure of six million carers will inevitably increase, factoring in the current state of care homes, and that people are generally living longer.

carers week 2011

Throughout Carers Week there are hundreds of events up and down the country hosted by Carers Week in conjunction with lots of different charities, who all specialise in specific areas; ranging from Age UK, Dementia UK, Macmillian Cancer Support, Parkinson’s UK and many others.

Events range from collecting helpful leaflets to getting professional advice, and helping employers to take into account employees who have caring responsibilities alongside work commitments.

I’m particularly impressed that Carers Week is encouraging people to join social groups. Pushing carers to enjoy a life outside of their caring commitments, opening up new opportunities to people who spend a majority of time looking after other people, oppose to themselves.

I think that it’s increasingly important to remember carers range from youngsters looking after parents or siblings, to adults taking on the responsibility of looking after elderly relatives. Along with elderly people themselves who care for husbands or wives. All of these people are entitled to a little rest bite and time for themselves. With effective support this is possible.

carers week 2011

If you are a carer then this week is a fantastic opportunity to discuss your options and find out what support is available for you- from health care to financial support. For the rest of us it is a brilliant chance to remember these fantastic people who are often forgotten about.  Take their well-being into account along with that of the people who they are looking after.

If you are a carer why not find an event near you– for extended support, help and advice.

Additionally Boots the Chemist are offering free carers packs filled with goodies for carers, which I am sure will be a lovely treat- get yours here.

Panorama: Undercover Care- My thoughts

June 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I am sure many will agree that Panorama: Undercover Care shown on BBC last night was shocking to watch.

panorama logoThe documentary saw undercover reporter, Joe Casey, film abusive behaviour, which was inflicted on learning disabled and autistic patients who were residents at Winterbourne View Care home in Bristol.Shockingly the abuse was carried out by the carer workers who had been trusted to look after and support the patients.

Terry Bryan, a former senior nurse at Winterbourne contacted Panorama after reporting concerns of abusive behaviour to both Winterbourne management and the Care Quality Commission with no response from either, Panorama investigated.

I watched the programme and found myself in shock and disbelief at what I saw. The care for patients seemed to be completely neglected, and I often questioned who the patients were and who carers were- finding it difficult to define the two.

The care home, which specialised in care for vulnerable patients who suffered specifically from learning difficulties and autism, should be a safe haven, which provides quality care and attention to its patients. Instead we saw a chaotic environment where violence, anger and abuse were the focus.

The footage was shocking for not only viewers but experts in the field. One professional featured on the documentary claims that the abuse which happened to a patient called Simone could easily be defined as torture. Something which is difficult to comprehend in a modern, well equipped care facility which had been visited and successfully investigated by regulators prior to the documentary.

iplayer panorama

I find it hard to understand the behaviour of these so called carers as their bullying behaviour has caused needless pain for not only the patients but also their family and friends who has no idea of the abuse- this was clearly stated during the documentary.

Panorama: Undercover care was an eye opener for all involved; as a viewer I was genuinely upset by the footage and I’ve seen this echoed by the huge amount of media coverage which the documentary has received this morning.

I am glad to read that the documentary has fuelled a police investigated and probed for an in-depth look into the care industry’s standards and practice. However, I can only hope that the Winterbourne Care home case was a rarity, and that the work of all care workers won’t be tarnished by a few individual who have disturbingly taken advantage of their positions.

Panorama: Undercover Care is available to view on BBC Iplayer- click for more information.

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